Jesus Reinstates Peter
Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Thursday, 17 May 2012
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. 20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? 24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. 25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Jesus asked Peter three questions concerning his love for Him. Earlier, Peter denied the Lord three times. Hence, the Lord asked him three times to confirm his love that he has just rekindled toward Christ. Now three times he said he loved the Lord (21:15-17). Even the strongest Christian may fall into sin (1 Cor. 10:12). But God’s grace and forgiveness will restore the repentant. As an hymn writer said, His “grace is greater than all our sins.”
Jesus also commissioned Peter three times to care for the flock: “Feed My lambs” (v. 15); “Feed My sheep” (v. 16); “Feed My sheep” (v. 17). In Jesus’ three questions of love (agapas, agapas, and phileis) and His three commands of duty (boske, “tend”; poimaine, “herd, lead to pasture”; boske), various Greek synonyms are used. They do not suggest different meaning. He is simply saying that the more we love Him, the more will we be able to do for Him.
After Jesus had spoken about Peter’s life and ministry, He began to talk about Peter’s death. This must have been a shock to Peter. Why bring up martyrdom? Peter had boasted before Jesus’ crucifixion that he would die for the Lord Jesus! But when the pressure was on, Peter failed miserably. Anyone who yields himself to serve the Lord must honestly confront this matter of death. Tradition tells us that Peter was indeed crucified, but that he asked to be crucified upside down, because he was not worthy to die exactly as his Master had died. But Peter’s death would not be a tragedy; it would glorify God! This should be our desire as well. Our Lord’s words, “Follow Me!” must have brought new joy and love to Peter’s heart.
When Peter wondered about John’s future the Lord rebuked Peter for being curious about God’s will for another’s life: “What is that to you? You must follow Me.” May we focus on the Lord and follow His will all the way that we may be a blessing and joy to many others.
(Read Hebrews 12:1-2.)
Lord, may I follow You that I may glorify You with my life.